Reading Without Books

Maintaining Engagement and Challenge in Online Reading My school are lucky to be full members of FOBISIA, who regularly host job alike workshops, JAWs, hosted by member schools. This year JAWs have moved online, but they still have that great element of participation and the chance to network with others in similar roles. This week's…

Failing Better in Remote Teaching:

As UK teachers return online, in an environment of even more uncertainty, I've been reflecting on my own journey with remote teaching. The last nine months have definitely been a learning curve I wouldn't have wished for, but they have forced me to rethink some of my habits in valuable ways. Though I'm sure I've…

The Challenge of Cultural Capital: Explicitly Teaching Allusion

I have shared some ideas about explicitly teaching allusion as part of the inaugural Team International Conference this autumn, so the intention of this post is to share resources we've used in case they are helpful to other international English teachers. "Literature is hard. It's a complex web of symbolism, analogy, plot, character, journey, language,…

The English Teacher’s Privilege

“Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The last couple of weeks have hopefully made many of us more aware of our privilege.…

Poetry Off-Piste #2: Freedom in Lockdown?

When one road closes, maybe students can help us find other paths. Under normal circumstances, I'd spend the start of this term frantically marking student work, sharing exemplars and breaking down the best answers into manageable steps to help students pick up just a few more marks. In short, making sure that my classes are…

Bringing the Classroom Home

"Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame."W.H.Auden I've been reminded of this final verse of Auden's masterful…

Mock Exam Marginal Gains

"Analogies, it is true, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home."Sigmund Freud My primary school headteacher repeated his favourite assembly every year. It told the story of Percy Verance, a Job-like figure who, of course, endured all sorts of setbacks and problems on the journey to achieve his dreams. By the…

Monstrous Modelling: ‘Frankenstein’ Essays

Modelling is perhaps the most important tool in an English teacher's arsenal; the best way to demystify the process of moving from some ideas about a text to a cohesive analytical essay. Despite my terrible handwriting, I'm a big fan of live-modelling for students and like to focus on modelling cognition, talking them slowly through…